This industry is just full of really smart people. I love getting these questions because it forces me to think about it. It’s actually a tough question to answer specifically. Obviously, while the voice business has become commoditized, every carrier still thinks and acts differently. So, they are going to have different priorities and usually some different needs.
But, I don’t want to sidestep the question. So, after some careful consideration, here’s my response: reliability and scalability. I know, I know, so boring. But you know what, when you really analyze it, and spend time thinking about it (I have spent a lot of time thinking about it), you conclude that reliability and scalability are paramount to everything else.
If the solution doesn’t work reliably, it costs you money. If the solution can’t scale, it impedes your growth which costs you money. Sure, features are important and new capabilities are always attractive, but if you have to pick what you can live with and what you can’t live without, reliability and scalability will always win. Here at GCS we have customers doing billions of minutes per month leveraging our Interconnect Command Platform. That’s a lot of voice traffic. These are some of the larger carriers in the U.S. and the world. The reason we get to keep them as customers is because our solution is reliable and scalable. It’s not the best user experience. It doesn’t have all the whiz bang features. But, at the end of the day it works and it can scale.
See, reliability and scalability are two domains in software development that get often overlooked and ignored. Developers want to build capabilities. They love solving problems. They like creating solutions to complex problems. But, when you tell them that it has to be reliable and it has to scale, they drop their shoulders. Why? Because it’s hard and because it can be a little boring.
Making sure the software works all the time, every time, takes a lot of engineering and revising code to ensure that the system doesn’t run into problems that make it unstable. In an enterprise software solution (which interconnect voice management platforms are), that requires a lot of control, error condition management, and lots and lots of testing. And then unit testing, user testing, regression testing…testing, testing, testing. Software developers hate spending their time on these aspects, but in this industry that’s where we separate the great systems from the good systems.
So, what is the most important consideration when purchasing an interconnect voice management solution? The answer is pretty easy: reliability and scalability.